- Fri, May 04 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
In the kiddie movie Barnyard, there is a scene where some beleaguered bovines avenge the abuse of cow-tipping. They sneak into their tormenter’s bedroom and upturn his bed, sending him to the floor with a big splat. My two daughters thought it was hilarious, and they talked about it incessantly. Why? In the paradigm of Chip and Dan Heath, it’s because it was a sticky story with an unexpected twist.
Some stories stay with us long after statistics, and the ones that are most memorable are those that surprise us in some way. You don’t expect cows from a barnyard to engage in boy-tipping, so you remember that, especially if you’re a kid.
This is a completely trivial example of a very important concept.
I’m becoming concerned that some of our storytelling in the nonprofit sector is becoming rather rote. We stick to a sad-to-happy, cookie-cutter template that fails to cut through the clutter. We make more wristbands. We print brochures. Instead, we should be challenging ourselves to seek out striking details, exhibit unexpected stories and communicate in unusual ways. We should think about how to tip expectations on their head (stupid pun intended).
Courtesy of Nancy Lee, who put these on a social marketing listserve, here is some inspiration.